UK: 80 food poisoning cases linked to former Saffron restaurant

Source of Article:

4:23pm Thursday 26th March 2009

By Paddy McGuffin

Two owners of an Ilkley restaurant that was shut down after 80 cases of food poisoning were linked to it have pleaded guilty to 20 breaches of food hygiene laws and related offences at Bradford Magistrates Court.

Abdul Ghafoor, of Fagley Road, Fagley, and Mohammed Ayub, of Westlands Grove, Allerton, were charged with 13 counts of breaching food hygiene laws and an additional six counts of obstructing an official Health and Safety investigation at the now defunct Saffron restaurant in Ilkley.

The charges related to serious breaches of food hygiene rules which led to an outbreak of a rare parasitic infection which saw over 80 taken ill after eating at the restaurant in late 2007.

Traces of the giardia lamblia parasite, usually associated with the Middle East and which causes gastro-intestinal illness, nausea and stomach cramps, were found in 87 people who had eaten at the restaurant.

Addressing the defendants, magistrates panel chairman Mrs Bielby said: "We have decided the offences are so serious they deserve a greater punishment than we are able to hand down in this court."

She sent the case to Bradford Crown Court for sentencing on May 8.

Bradford Council's environmental health manager Angela Brindle said: "It has been a very difficult case to investigate as the giardia parasite is not normally associated with food-borne outbreaks of this nature and, in fact, we believe it is the first giardia outbreak associated with a food business in this country.

"Looking into this case was made even more difficult by one of the proprietors not disclosing themselves as a bona fide owner of the restaurant until nine months into the investigation. This is why we also brought a case of obstruction against Mr Ghafoor and Mr Ayub as they caused considerable delay to the investigation."

She continued: "The restaurant staff were totally ill-prepared for the job. They had no food hygiene training and no experience of running a food business safely. Staff did not know how to wash their hands properly and even carried on working when they had diarrhoea.

"The key message we want to send out to other food businesses following this case is that management must be present on site at all times and trained in food hygiene and they must have a clear understanding of the need for equipment maintenance.

"Staff must be trained and supervised to ensure they are carrying out hygiene practices correctly and food handlers must not work under any circumstances whilst suffering from sickness and diarrhoea."




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